Shanghai 20th May 2011

Perception is a real subjective thing. I pondered on this while listening to the news in regards to the arrest of and accusations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF. There is the “victims’ side of the story and there is the “offenders” side of the story, guilty versus innocent. Who is right, who is wrong? We shape our opinions based on our interpretations of the news I guess combined with our own cultural beliefs and subjective perception of the situation. It is all in the eye of the beholder as they say. It is very hard to stay neutral and not form an opinion until proven guilty…

This phenomenon happens all the time in our lighting world as well. Without knowing all the ins and outs it is hard to judge lighting installations. We judge by our perceptions and subjective interpretations of what we see. The funny thing is we always seem to think bad things first in our assumptions. We are quick to criticise and point out the shortcomings or what we would have done “better”.

The truth is we don’t know what has driven a project to its end destination. I have been involved in projects were communication between client and ourselves broke beyond repairs when for instance budgets were reduced to impossible levels to create a satisfactory end results. The point is that these realities and background stories are not known to the outside observer who only perceives the end result. When lighting blends in well and is in harmony with its environment, it feels good and in balance. Therefore people don’t fee l compelled to comment. I often say the best comment is no comment!  

As to commenting on other peoples lighting designs I have learned to be careful and not do that other then with caution and clarification that I do so purely on visual assessment without knowing the details or project history.
…Never judge a book by its cover 🙂  

In Light Watch today one of my own projects from a few years ago in Shanghai. The light up of several buildings along the famous Bund. We mainly beat the local companies by our energy story. Most building lights were using heavy duty floodlights (1-2 KW) but with very low efficiency (and a lot of pollution!). Our design catered for the same but with one fourth of the energy (250-400W) but with 80% efficiency…

Light Watch 93: Shanghai, the Bund façade lighting

20. May 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design | Leave a comment

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